Yesterday, Americans elected Donald Trump to be their next President. The end of the campaign marks the beginning of a 240-year old process spelt out in the U.S. Constitution. The Electoral College will meet in December to cast the votes that will formally elect the President, then those votes will be counted in Congress on January 6, 2017, two weeks before the President-elect takes the oath of office to begin his four year term.
Republican businessman Donald Trump has shocked the world, and many in his own political party, by winning the Presidency on the back of a strong populist campaign and a wave of anti-establishment sentiment crashing across America. While Trump has been a household name in the U.S. for many years by virtue of his eponymous business ventures and presence on primetime television, he is much less a well-known quantity in political and policy circles.
Trump’s success in the Republican primary was built on his brash personality and taking a strong, unapologetic stance against illegal immigration. Many in Washington, DC look for Trump to follow through on this by seeking significant immigration reforms early in his term. Trump’s election also means pending trade deals, at least in their current form, will not be approved unless it happens in the final weeks of President Obama’s term and the lame duck Congress. Conservatives may not universally love Trump but they are emboldened by the likely return of a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump has also indicated he will look to the private sector where possible to fill out his cabinet.
America’s upper chamber of Congress will remain in Republican control, although with a slightly reduced majority. The loss of only one or two seats means Republicans may see their two seat majority on most Senate committees reduced to a single seat in some instances. That’s a small price to pay, however, as Republicans will keep the committee chairmanships that allow them to hold hearings on Trump’s nominees to presidential cabinet posts and the Supreme Court. The committee chairmen also get first crack at writing legislation to implement the President’s agenda, which will attract much attention as Trump fleshes out his policy proposals in the coming weeks and months.
American voters also returned a Republican majority to the U.S. House of Representatives. Current U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan is expected to seek the gavel again when House Republicans meet next week to elect their leaders in the next Congress. Many of the current Committee Chairmen in the House will keep their gavels, with a few notable exceptions. Party rules will require a new chairman on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over telecommunications, healthcare, energy, and other industry sectors.